Christopher L Graff

WTR Research

The WTR 1000 focuses exclusively on trademark practice and has firmly established itself as the definitive 'go-to' resource for those seeking world-class legal trademark expertise

Silver - Individuals

A celebrated name in the United States and globally, Pirkey Barber provides gold-standard guidance throughout all phases of the trademark lifecycle; it lives and breathes the practice and is regarded by rights holders as a dynamic force for good in the world of brands. The firm has recorded impressive growth since it was established in 2006 and has landed some significant laterals recently, with the arrival of Alicia Morris Groos in 2021 and Michael Metteauer joining in 2020. Both are enthusiastically recommended by the market. Of Groos, one client comments: “Alicia has been handling our trademark work for many years and is a great partner to have. She has instilled best practices around using, maintaining and policing our marks, which have made a huge difference.” “Michael provides timely, thorough, proactive and practical counsel on trademark prosecution and enforcement. He takes the time to really learn his clients’ business and understand their commercial goals, so he isn’t giving legal advice in a vacuum.” Metteauer has settled in well and has assumed lead roles on teams handling important cases: he recently acted for Best Buy and subsidiary GreatCall in a trademark infringement suit (now settled) in the Southern District of California and – putting the spotlight on Pirkey Barber’s incredible breadth of expertise – represented a diversified multinational conglomerate on a wide range of matters, including clearance, domain name proceedings, social media takedowns, licensing agreements and much more. This work has given him an opportunity to link up with esteemed litigators including Bill Barber, Alexandra Bistline and Wendy Larson. Having taken on and won many important disputes, Barber has cultivated valuable strategic and worldly wisdom. A “compelling speaker”, Bistline is “becoming quite the star at Pirkey Barber”, according to peers at competing firms. A beacon for those grappling with online brand protection and enforcement challenges, Larson “has a gift for distilling complexity and making things easy to understand” – something that sets her apart as a “highly sophisticated lawyer”. Additional contentious firepower is supplied by several others, including veterans Louis Pirkey and Steve Meleen and rising stars Jered Matthysse and Travis Wimberly. Pirkey is a thought and practice leader with over four decades in the game and many notable accomplishments on his CV. Meleen recently secured a resounding victory for the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System in a suit against Longhornville Limited, which was incorporating the university’s well-known marks such as TEXAS FIGHT in its merchandise. The defendant was enjoined from using the relevant marks; had state registrations cancelled; was subjected to an order directing the USPTO to refuse registration of federal trademark applications; and was slapped with the university’s reasonable attorneys’ fees. With him on this, Matthysse – a member of the firm’s management committee – is constantly adding wins to his track record and distinguishing himself as a vigorous and tactically smart advocate. Wimberly is hailed as a “high-energy and conscientious lawyer with good listening skills, a creative mind and a passion for his craft”. He has teamed up with Pirkey to great effect on several recent cases and prevailed for De Boulle Diamond & Jewelry in an opposition against a defendant’s application to register the mark ANDRE-CHARLES BOULLE for furniture. This was an interesting matter in which the team presented evidence to show that Andre-Charles Boulle was a well-known 17th century French furniture maker; the result will have significant implications for applicants seeking to register the names of famous historical artists and creators as trademarks. Emphasising prosecution, portfolio management and counselling in their practices, Sherri Eastley, Shannon Vale, Anna Kuhn, Steven Espenshade and Christopher Kindel round out the firm’s list of WTR 1000 representatives for 2022. “Sherri provides clear, practical and commercial advice in a timely manner.” Senior counsel Vale elevates any trademark discussion by drawing on many years of global experience. Kuhn is an “exemplary lawyer in terms of responsiveness and knowledge. She sees the law in its business context and has great leadership skills”. Espenshade is recommended wholeheartedly by clients, who call him a “valuable extension of in-house teams” and highlight his efficiency and approachability. Kindel is endorsed for his rigorously commercial mindset and for the international support package he offers.

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